The Initiation Of Young Men in Modern Times – with Brad Leslie – Episode #32

Brad Leslie was one of the founders of The Young Men’s Adventure Weekend, an event that takes teens through a series of challenging adventures designed to draw out the qualities he will need as a man. The creation of the YMAW program was informed by numerous rites of passage from around the world, incorporating long-standing traditions in to a palatable journey for the young men of this era and culture.

Watch the below video to get an idea of how epic this weekend is for young men.

On this podcast episode, Brad breaks down a number of definitions and key points in the work of initiating young men:

  • Initiation as a starting point. A lift-off point from which you cannot go back.

  • A boy’s journey from “Mom’s world” to “man’s world” and the journey in between.

  • What initiation looks like in certain indigenous cultures.

  • Initiation – The transformation from needy & dependent to accountable & useful.

  • What uninitiated men look like.

  • What the initiated man looks like.

  • A young man looking for camaraderie will join a team, a gang, or the military to initiate himself.

  • The Boy Crisis – by Warren Farrell and John Gray

  • The value of sports teams in building the character of young men.

  • 3 steps in an initiation: Separation from community, Ordeal/Challenge, Return to community.

  • The value of separating boys and girls to teach them about manhood and womanhood as they age.

  • Michael Gurian’s book – The Purpose of Boys.

  • Why sex does not pass as an initiation in to manhood.

  • How men drain their vital energy by getting in to co-dependent relationships.

  • The simple way that men can connect with young men just by hanging out.

  • The result of a culture that doesn’t have elders.

  • The odd story of how we lost our elders in the US and Canada.

  • Elephants have elders too.

  • Initiation for men who were never initiated – get in to self-development work and find a men’s group.

  • The ultimate cheat code to initiating yourself in to manhood – get in to service to your community.


The Young Men’s Adventure Weekend happens every July in the lower mainland area of Vancouver, BC, Canada. This event happens because men volunteer to make it happen, and young men aged 12-18 sign up.

Young mengo here to sign up for a life-changing experience.
Mengo here to be of service and transform how you see young men.

There are other events that happen in other corners of North America. The Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend operates in California. They are at There are others, and if you need help, reach out to the YMAW guys on the YMAW contact page.

If you liked this episode, you’ll love this episode on Men’s Shadow Work with P.T. Mistlberger.